I found this great article on User Interfaces that I wanted to share. Two points I wanted to add

  1. Just because it's old doesn't mean it's bad.
  2. Just because it's new doesn't mean it's better.

And can we please all decide that light grey text on a white background is just retarded?

Why is that article great?? That is probably one of the worst articles about modern user interfaces that I've come across.

  1. They give me a reason not to trust them when it's hosted on a severely outdated website with poor usability. The logo is not clickable to return to the homepage and that has been standard practice for many, many decades now. The article is not dated so I don't know whether to digest it as if it was written in 2020 or 2002.
  2. In the third paragraph they're saying "Usability is steadily declining." From where I'm standing, UI/UX design is a bigger industry than ever. More and more companies are taking it seriously and investing more and more money into it.
  3. I stopped reading by the fourth paragraph.

This article was obviously written by an old school developer with an old school mentality. However, what he fails to discuss is that part of having great usability is designing for the target demographic. Something that might be completely perfectly natural and intuitive to one generation might make no sense at all to a different generation.

I don't think it's fair to say that "X is designed to be completely unintuitive." I think the most you can say is, "X is completely unintuitive to me" with the understanding that is most likely not the case for many others.

As an additional thought, this reminded me of how many decades ago I remember it being in the news that the next generation of cars would be controlled by gamepads instead of by steering wheels. The thought was that children who were raised in the 90s, who would be making up the majority of people on the road by the 2030s, would feel more comfortable with gamepad controllers. As a result, there would be fewer accidents and motorists would feel more in control of the vehicles. Of course, the concept of driverless cars came to fruition making this largely a moot point before it had a chance to grow any real legs. My point, however, is that an 80 year old driver might think the idea of controlling their car with a gamepad as completely unintuitive and blame it on a horrible UI. What the driver fails to realize is that car manufacturers, however, truly understand their demographic better than he does.

an 80 year old driver might think the idea of controlling their car with a gamepad as completely unintuitive and blame it on a horrible UI.

Is the gamepad an intuitive interface or is it just one that was learned by a large number of people? English is not a sensible, consistent, or easily learned language. Just because a lot of people speak it doesn't make it so. Esperanto, on the other hand, has logical and consistent rules. It is spoken by a very small number of people. So if you were judging Esperanto vs English on the basis of intuitiveness which would be superior?

Is the gamepad an intuitive interface or is it just one that was learned by a large number of people?

The idea was that it would be more familiar and comfortable to a generation that grew up on console gaming than an old fashioned wheel. As a result, more natural and intuitive to use than doing hand over hand motions, etc. My point is that something is not innately intuitive. By definition, it is considered intuitive simply by being easily understood because it's recognized and understood by it's intended users.

Someone who did not grow up on gaming consoles most likely would find it more confusing to use than a steering wheel. However, if you've used gaming controllers from age 6-16 and then are presented with a steering wheel that requires hand over hand motions and other such weird hand motions that one never had to do ever before in their 16 years of life, then that would be completely unintuitive.

"light grey text on a white background"

Yes, that was verboten years ago. If you can select your own color scheme, then fine, but some sites just want you to squint as far as I can tell.

I've been at this too long as well. Pre-DOS, WordStar on CP/M and before that AppleWriter, teletypes and paper tape.

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